I’m going to post as I learn new things, so I know there are 100 different ways to write good relationships, but today I’m focusing on the five love languages. Don’t worry about a seat belt today. This one is going to be a smooth ride.
Written in 1995, The Five Love Languages is now common knowledge among the masses. A quick google search will turn up hundreds of quizzes all prepared to tell you exactly how you give and receive love. Personally, I think it sparked a change we’ve yet to fully realize, but that’s not what you want to read about. So on we go!
Words of Affirmation
These people prefer to vocalize their love. They need to hear it said and tell others they love them on a regular basis. It’s almost like the words need to be in the air between them to exist and have to be refreshed regularly. “I love you.” “I appreciate you.” “Thank you.” These kinds of people need to know without a doubt that you know you’re valued, treasured.
‘I will remind you every second of what you mean to me, because you deserve to hear it.’
From the cheapest expression to the most expensive, these people show their affection by giving their time. Don’t get confused, though. I’m not talking about sitting in the same room. This is the gift of undivided attention, where nothing else in the world is more important than that person. That could mean just being there, but the key is that these people will put everything else off to be sure that their person is alright.
‘You are not alone.’
Pretty much everyone likes gifts, or I’ll eat my pen. These people show their affection by putting extra thought into their gifts, though. They prefer to surprise people with them. They wait for the moment that their face lights up, or that glint in their eye says that they understand. They want it to mean something, everything. Their gifts say everything.
‘I want to give you a physical reminder of how I care about you. Even when I’m not there, I want this to remind you how much I adore you.’
Acts of Service
This is one that I willingly admit I understand the least of all five types. They’ll mow the lawn, do the dishes, do the laundry, all the things that none of us want to do. (I don’t care what your mom says, she didn’t do your underwear because she genuinely wanted to. promise.) They do those things because they want to make the lives of the people they love easier. When there’s a tragedy and people gather together to make casseroles for the family, it’s an act of service.
It’s an act of love and solidarity that says ‘I can’t fix the reason you’re hurting, but I can ease the load.’
You know these people, because I swear they’re everywhere. Typically, there are more females in this categories than males, but that’s simply because of societal standards (read as double standards) which your world may not have. They’re the touchy feely ones. They unconsciously seek ways to touch. Sitting and watching a movie on the two opposite sides of the couch, they still manage to pretzel up your legs with theirs and toss popcorn at you. They bump shoulders, high five, hold hands, all to physically remind you they’re there and that you matter.
‘Let me lend you my strength. I am here.’
Now don’t forget that these rules apply to friendships and family relationships as well.
Why are these useful?
When you’re building characters you can use it to strengthen their relationships. You can write characters more consistently when they need to show their gratitude or affection. And choosing a love language adds an extra layer of depth to your novel!
Need more conflict? Have two people who speak different languages have a misunderstanding. Need someone to show your MC some support? Have someone show them that support by using the MC’s love language, even if it isn’t their own, especially if it isn’t their own.
Love languages are just that: languages.
Te amo. I love you. Je t’aime. ‘Ahbak.
It doesn’t matter if you say it if they can’t understand you.
Keep writing, Lovelies